Preview: Qarabag v Chelsea

Eden Hazard, Chelsea

Chelsea will secure their place in the Knockout round of the Champions League with a victory over Qarabag in their penultimate Group C clash, on Wednesday.

UEFA Champions League
Date: 22 November 2017
Match Day 5
Kick-off: 19H00 (GMT+2)
Venue: Baki Olimpiya Stadionu

Referee: J. de Sousa
Assistants: A. Mesquita, Ricardo Santos
Fourth official: Nuno Pereira

Head-to-head summary:


Qarabag 1 0 0 1
Chelsea 1 1 0 0

Previous encounter:

Chelsea 6-0 Qarabag 12/09/17 (Champions League)

Chelsea goalscorers: Pedro (5′), D. Zappacosta (30′), Azpilicueta (55′), T. Bakayoko (71′), M. Batshuayi (76′)M. Medvedev (OG 82′)

Players to watch:

Qarabag have been relying on Maksim Medvedev and Dino Ndlovu to score their goals of late. The Azerbaijan striker has five in 10 games this season, while South African Ndlovu recently scored his fourth goal, from his 11 games played.

? @alvaromorata on the volley in training today… #CFC #Chelsea

A post shared by Chelsea FC! ? (@chelseafc) on

Chelsea’s array of attacking talent is well documented, with threats from all areas of the pitch. Manager Antonio Conte may opt to rest a few stars ahead of facing Liverpool on Sunday. Eden Hazard is expected to pull the strings from midfield though while Alvaro Morata continues to show his class, with eight goals already this season, and will certainly add to that if he plays.

Team form and manager quotes:

Qarabag come into this game already eliminated from the Champions League, bottom of Group C, and with probably only the heavy defeat they suffered to Chelsea the last time, on their minds.

In the league though, Gurban Gurbanov’s side are top of the table won their last two Premyer Liqa wins after their 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid in their last Champions League game, to boost their confidence.

Chelsea, meanwhile, will secure their qualification to the next round with a win at the Baki Olimpiya Stadionu, but with a massive Premier League game against Liverpool this weekend, they may look to rest some players.

Second in the group, one point behind Roma, the Blues’ qualification is all but secure, with Atletico down in third, with three points, although there are two games to play.

Ahead of the game, Gurbanov said: “We understand everything. We know the strength of our rival.

“We will try to fight on the field till the end. This is our last match in Baku.”

Conte added: “It is an important game as if we win, we go through to the next round and that will be very important for us.

“Qarabag have drawn twice against Atletico Madrid and we know very well what a team Atletico is, and also Roma struggled a lot before winning against Qarabag, who are a really good team who play football and try to dominate the game.”

Alluding to the fact that he may rest some players, Conte added: “I trust in all my players and I am sure of my choice.

“For sure I have to make the best decision for this game but it is normal to have rotation because we are have to play every three days.

“But I repeat, this game versus Qarabag is very important as it is important not to arrive at the game against Atletico still waiting to go through, which could be more difficult for us.”

Team news:

Chelsea are without Victor Moses (hamstring), Michy Batshuayi (ankle), Charly Musonda (knee) and Kenedy (muscle), who are all sidelined.

Pedro Henrique is suspended for Qarabag after being sent off against Atletico. Badavi Huseynov is injured while Tarik Elyounoussi and Mahir Madatov face late fitness tests.